People could argue that lemons are the most useful and versatile fruit when it comes to cooking. I would have to agree with them. Lemon juice in a marinade helps break down tough fibers in meat, yielding tender results. Squirted on fruit, it slows down the oxidation process so they don't turn brown as quickly. Drizzled over seafood, lemon juice turns fish into a succulent treasure from the sea.
My parent's neighbors have a huge lemon tree in their yard that is literally dropping fruit on a daily basis. Not wanting this bounty to go to waste, I was graciously given a large bag to explore all of the talents of the lemon.
So what have I made? Interestingly, not lemonade. I guess that would have been an obvious choice, (our lemon harvest is not over yet so it may be in our future), but I was intrigued with other recipes. Limoncello, for example. I actually don't like limoncello, so I'm not sure why I thought my tastes would change just because I was using freshly picked lemons and making it at home with love. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process, just not the end product. If you do like Limoncello, definitely give it a go (here's a recipe) since the transformation over the course of 3 weeks is enjoyable.
For this post, I'll focus on a Frozen Lemon Pie. I love lemon meringue pie, but wanted something a bit different from the norm. This recipe includes cream cheese and condensed milk, lending this pie to be tart and creamy.
In my opinion, traditional pie crusts can tend to be soggy, wet ,and all around not that tasty. Create a base with a cracker crust, and you've just transformed your pie with each and every bite - a smooth, creamy interior with the light crunch of an exterior crust. To save time, I did buy a pre-made graham cracker crust, but took it to another dimension by basting the crust with egg and baking it to a golden brown before adding the filling.
I basically followed this recipe for Lemon Icebox Pie, but decided to freeze the pie in the end. After whipping the cream cheese and condensed milk with fresh lemon juice and lemon zest, it's as simple as popping it in the freezer for a few hours. The recipe calls for refrigerating the pie, so we tried it that way first, but it felt too heavy and creamy. The flavor was spot on, but it wasn't as refreshing as we had hoped. The freezer is where it's at for this pie.